Establishing Support for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Centers

Working on behalf of a university client, Lewis-Burke successfully crafted and executed a lobbying strategy to integrate an established Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Flight Test Center (FTC) into the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Flight Test Site program through the FAA Reauthorization Act extension.  Leveraging understanding of the FAA reauthorization process and extensive knowledge of the university’s capabilities, Lewis-Burke drafted an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act, and developed a proposal for congressional delegation staff to use when discussing the request with Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee staff.  The legislative proposal demonstrated the importance of the UAS FTC in the FAA Flight Test Site program, including its historical impact on and relationship with the FAA and UAS research, development, test and evaluation.  Lewis-Burke complemented the lobbying strategy with outreach to the FAA to ensure effective implementation of the amendment.  While the comprehensive reauthorization of the FAA was delayed, Lewis-Burke leveraged existing support for adoption of the UAS FTC amendment into the FAA authorization extension bill. The FAA extension, including the UAS FTC amendment, was signed into law in July 2016, integrating the university’s UAS FTC into the FAA Flight Test Site program.